[I have not written in a while, it is for several reasons. One of which is I have realized the power of my words and speaking with tact is not always easy for me, but I am trying. My blog has always been a place where I spill, typically unhindered; the release is more so I do not have to continue to think or so my revelations are concreted in text. A second reason is that…]
in the most recent days I have been going through the hardest heartache of my seemingly short life. This blog is full of heartaches, in fact I know that at least the last 5 heart breaks I have documented in some sort of post. It seems like a lot but I know my God has protected me from many others along the way and I am grateful for that. They have been heart breaks over dreams, over boys, over churches, over myself. Yet I have also been undergoing great transformation in my life with the Lord. This is not to say that the two are equally balanced, that they are interchangeable for one another. Many people come out of hard times and say “I wouldn’t change it for the world because of what I learned and how I grew.” I am not of the same mindset. I would like to say “I wish I had learned my lesson in an easier way.” I wish the Lord had given me fertilizer and not pruned me. I wish I had better controlled how my branches grew, had reigned in my heart better, had built my battle walls higher.
When it all comes down to it, it is a matter of pruning. The Lord cutting sections out of my life and heart that I loved and had grown attached to, branches that from my perspective were good. And the thing is some of them may have been good, they may have had the potential to bear fruit, blossoms may have been sprouting. I looked at some of those branches and I praised God for them, everyday they brought joy and their little growth made me smile.
Jesus is teaching me.
He sees from a perspective I do not understand. He looks at the paralytic and says “Your sins are forgiven.” I look at the paralytic and only see his immediate needs. I see a limp body. He sees a limp soul. Pruning is not about immediate results. It is an act of pain followed by a healing of wounds and finally over time there is new growth, stronger growth. God sees the end goal. He says “no” when something is not good for me and I do not realize it. He also says “no” when He has something better in mind.
Sometimes Satan attacks our branches with parasites and I do not realize in time to come against the bugs, until there is no other solution but to cut branches. Here is where it is difficult because I can turn on myself and say it was all my fault- I did not see and did not act correctly…. Having grace over myself is something I greatly struggle with.
If I might, a revelation as I am typing: all of a sudden every outside force acting on my branches does not matter, I am able to look at myself and say my side is my responsibility. Trees cannot grow branches together. No one else can grow my branch and I cannot grow a branch on another man’s tree. How profound. I suppose sometimes one’s branch can rest on another, which can be unhealthy. Though in marriage, I would like to think the branches become entwined, in a way that is mutually beneficial and beautiful as the trees help one another grow.
I have come to doubt the ability for man to steward the heart of another; I cannot take care of an entire tree; I can do my best not to damage it, but I cannot see past the leaves. And I do not know that I can believe in the promises of man to hold my heart. He may try, but he will fail. And it will hurt. If I am not clear with what I need done, then nothing can be expected. Maybe I need inner healing over this. Maybe it is a wound of pruning that will heal with new growth.
I must have hope that there will be new growth. It is the desire of my heart. I must hope a branch will grow where the old one was cut, that I am meant to be a tree with branches, not a bare trunk. For the time being I must be satisfied that the Lord’s hand is sure, that His pruning will bear fruit, that I will not bleed out to death from the cuts, and that I will not scar over in a way that hinders new growth. I pray all of these things over myself and ask that you would too.
Numbers 23:19 says “God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that he should change His mind. He has said and will He not do it? Or has He spoken and will He not fulfill it?”
Never have I been more glad that my God is not man. And even that as He chose to take on the form of a man, He did not take on the substance of a man. Oh, that I might be drawn into His likeness, that I might never lie or change my mind, that my word might always be kept! But alas I am man just as everyone about me is. And their effects on me are not without justification in this. And perhaps this is why I question the ability to steward hearts, though I will try with all my heart, I can have no expectation for return.
In all of this Jesus is teaching me about humility.
How humility is comparing myself to Jesus and not to others. How humility is stooping to repent. To correct the very fact that there is need for repentance if not the disagreement itself. That with stooping I become more like Christ. That He did infinitely more than I ever could. That He endured more heartbreak than I could ever handle. That He walked daily among a planet full of people who broke His heart. That every individual He passed by rended His heart to the extent of His very life. And yet He walked among them! That I could carry my pain as well as He! And carrying pure love, love for a friend that he would lay His life down for each of them. That I could carry my love as well as He! Even His closest confidants who slumbered during the night of His betrayal and He woke them still with love. I cannot fathom! He is greater than me in every way. And in every act, I must strive to be like Him, to walk how He walked. I am a proud person seeking to walk humbly, seeking to act righteously.
In all of this Jesus is teaching me about authority.
That authority is not given to work or to see miracles. Jesus first started working out of authority when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. And the first thing the Spirit did was announce His identity: “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Authority brings the ability to walk in and understand our identity. It is a common mistake for Christians to think that the Holy Spirit is in place primarily for us to do the works that will be greater than Christ. There is no doubt that these works cannot be done without the Spirit. But see how the Spirit first worked with Jesus. It drove Him into the wilderness to seek God, not into the cities to heal people. When you know your identity there is no place you feel more comfortable than in the presence of God. Even when He came out of the wilderness Jesus did not immediately begin to heal or prophesy or perform miracles. He went into the temple and began to speak in a way that those listening said “What is this authority that He speaks with!” Here is the kicker, what was Jesus saying with authority? He was reading the Bible. Since the word is God, He was reading himself. He was declaring His identity that had been prophesied in the scripture. Out of His identity in the Spirit, He does His work.
Many get caught up in the prophesies spoken over them, in the signs and wonders they would like to see done, in the plans that lay ahead of them. In the past, I have said that there are not many prophesies spoken over my future, I believe this will soon change with the grasp I am gaining on the Lord. It has been a sore spot for me, feeling as if I am not called to do great things, as if I will be one of the Christians on the outside of the great works, they do not occur around me. I miss healings and baptisms and signs and wonders all the time that my friends are witness to. But what grace this has provided me to understand that my identity and authority are not found in works and prophesies! What grace has the Father over me that I can grasp my identity without having to lay down prophesies and works! I see this as a struggle for many. That I might first walk in my identity and find satisfaction there is a healthy process. With authority we find identity. We must seek the Father’s heart.
Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.”
When we seek the Lord, we find ourselves wrapped in His love. Some friends and I went to a conference over the New Year. For a while, the Spirit led me away from our group and into the prayer room where I sought the Lord’s heart, where I brought my brokenness and desires before Him. He met me with compassion, with revelations that I can barely explain but that my heart agrees with. I would not have to go it alone, He told me he was going to place two angels on either side of me to go with me. As I sat in the prayer room, I asked the Lord if He could send someone to affirm what He had said. Leaving the prayer room I returned to my group of friends. Walking down the aisle I was met by one of the women who told me I had just missed our friend’s foot being healed. In my mind I immediately jumped to “Well that’s typical, I never see any of the signs” and then immediately I rebuked myself “No the works of the Lord are not what I seek. I will desire His heart I and seek His face. It is better. It is better.” I finally arrived to where my friends were and began worshiping with them, beating my old nature that desired works and not the Lord’s heart. Then it happened, a girl I had never met came up to me and told me as she was walking by she saw two huge angel wings on either side of me. They were massive and she asked the Lord what it meant. “I am going to fly.” Seeking the Lord’s identity brings miracles. It is a miracle that I am who He says I am.
We must approach Him with humility in our weakness. He will meet us and pour out His love.
We must humble ourselves to the pruning, to seeking the Lord’s heart, to understanding that His authority creates our identity.
And I am still learning and I am still hurting. There are still pangs of heart sickness. There are still wounds that are open. But I have these angels and this Father and this Lover to carry me when community proves not to be a cure-all.